Hendon's two-game winning run came to an end at Stompond Lane on Tuesday night as a solitary goal from Scott Edgar was enough to give Walton & Hersham all three points. A poor first half for the Greens was followed by a much better second period and, overall, Hendon were distinctly unlucky not to collect at least a point.
With Eugene Ofori ill and Steve McGrath also absent, the Greens were forced into a substantial reshuffle. In came Danny O'Sullivan for his debut, while Ross Pickett moved into attack to replace Ofori while, at the back, RenÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â© Street joined Billy Matthews in defence. The bench was much changed, with Marvyn Watson, Youness Nabil and Iain Duncan replacing O'Sullivan, Kieran Gallagher and Jimmy Froud.
The first half was dominated by a big and strong Walton team. Hendon struggled to cope with the Swans' no-nonsense style and the defence was often hard at work to keep the forwards at bay. On a rare venture forward, Belal Aiteouakrim forced Nick Gindre into a save, but the almost inevitable opening goal came at the other end.
After 29 minutes, a corner was swung into the Hendon penalty area. Dave King came for the ball but was unable to reach the ball as a Walton player was in the way and EDGAR wasted no time in scoring from six yards.
Hendon came more into the game after the break with Danny Murphy doing well with his dangerous deliveries from the left flank. The Walton defence was just about able to deal with them, although they looked far from comfortable.
The Swans were put under most pressure by Aiteouakrim, who again came closest to getting an equaliser. He fired a shot that beat Gindre, but it cannoned off a post and fell to Pickett, who was in space. Pickett struck the ball well, but didn't lift it and Gindre, still on the ground, was able to make a fine save. Nevertheless the chance really should have been taken.
Another effort Aiteouakrim again from brought out the best from Gindre. Hendon went all out for the equaliser, sending on Nabil for O'Sullivan and Watson for Danny Julienne. Unsurprisingly, this left gaps at the back and Walton twice nearly made the Greens pay for their adventure.
Both Edgar and substitute Mark Nwokeji found themselves in one-on-one situations, but King twice came to Hendon's rescue with fine saves.
"I am very disappointed to lose tonight," admitted manager Gary McCann. "They are as big and strong a side as I have seen at this level and we struggled to deal with them physically."